BLACK CAT (2020) #1/ Script by JED MACKAY/ Art by C.F. VILLA/ Colors by BRIAN REBER/ Letters by FERRAN DELGADO/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
When it comes to writing these reviews I’ve got one rule: no spoilers. I don’t even like to go “Spoiler Alert” and then do it. You need to read the story and decide for yourself if you enjoyed it. Today I am going to break my rule. Are you ready? If not, then jus- WE ARE GOING TO STEAL THE SPIDER-BUGGY!
Whew! Got that out of my system. Yes, it was necessary because this story is off the rails. It’s a fricken heist book! This isn’t just a book about Black Cat looking for her next score, this is a slow-roll build-up to an Ocean’s Nine Lives story that would even tickle Brian Koppelman. What begins as a heist in progress over Spidey’s beloved buggy rapidly escalates into a full-blown alien invasion in the middle of Manhattan. Felicia finds herself amidst the ranks of Captain America, Dr. Strange, a handful of Avengers, and the X-Men as they battle an onslaught of symbiote dragons all in service of the symbiote god Knull.
This is where the story truly develops. The tempo changes in your heart along with the pages. Jed MacKay has taken a character that began to feel forced for relevance and helped her claw her way to the top of her game as a weighted crime boss. Never lacking in moxie, Felicia has honed her skills and commands your attention and affection in this story. While her confidence stutters, her conviction remains steadfast; and in the wake of tragedy she begins to piece together a team with a goal so audacious that nobody else in the Marvel universe could ever dream of accomplishing. Wish her luck!
The story does have a bit of a political outlook in it for a bit. Specifically, an ideology or philosophy about Felicia’s thoughts of America as a concept. Regardless of where you stand on the current state of affairs, it is refreshing to get a peek into the mind of our characters and what drives them without feeling like an agenda is being pushed. While Marvel certainly has a history of politicizing their books, this is not an example of that. It’s even a little inspiring at points.
With so much going on in this book, C.F. Villa certainly had a monster of a book to illustrate. The battle sequences were busy by nature and Villa used those opportunities to demonstrate where less can definitely be more. Focusing on the important points of the panels and leaving the less-important details to the imagination, we have a product that allows the reader’s mind to be a part of the action.
Villa gave Brian Reber zero space to cut corners in this book. When you have superpowered characters like Storm and Dr. Strange blasting the pages you pull out all the stops. Fantastic colors and use of light abound here. Also, huge props to Ferran Delgado on the lettering in this book. The story has a relatively muted feel to the colors to help establish the perilous mood and his work helps to preserve that sensation. The venom you hear in Felicia’s voice (you’ll hear it when you read it) is the feather in his cap.
The end of this book came all too soon. Black Cat #1 is is an intelligent, high stakes roller coaster filled with plenty of laughs and just enough peril to keep you hooked.
Let me leave you with one final thought: I don’t care how good you think the terms are between you and your ex, if she’s stealing your car, you have a problem on your hands. Also, fun fact: Peter Parker does not have a driver’s license!